Photo by Kevin M. Bernard, 2019.

Newport Polo announced today a partnership with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center for the 9th annual Beach Polo exhibition at 1 PM on February 22 – 23, weather permitting, as a highlight of the 32nd annual Newport Winter Festival.

The two-day polo exhibition is scheduled to take place during low tide on Sachuest Beach in Middletown.  Beach parking and admission are free.

“Newport Polo has maintained a focus on benefiting the community since its beginning in 1992,” explains Newport Polo Founder & President, Dan Keating in a prepared statement. “We are happy to include a food drive as part of Beach Polo for the first time to provide critical support to the MLK Center’s year-round hunger services.”

Spectators are asked to bring donations of non-perishable dry-goods, toiletries, or household items for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.  MLK Center volunteers will collect donated goods at the Beach Pavilion located in the main parking lot.  Follow this link for a list of the MLK Center’s current needs.

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“We are thrilled to partner with Newport Polo for this year’s Beach Polo exhibition and we’re delighted to be a small part of the 32nd Winter Festival,” Heather Hole Strout, Executive Director of the MLK Community Center, told What’s Up Newp on Thursday. “This family-friendly event is a wonderful opportunity for the MLK to collect much-needed food, toiletries, and household items for both our Feed-a-Friend food pantry and our Mobile Food Pantry program.”

According to Newport Polo, “Beach Polo is a low-impact, eco-friendly exhibition, and a much-anticipated highlight on the closing weekend of the Newport Winter Festival”. 

Over 1,000 spectators are expected to line the sandy playing area each day, within the inter-tidal area of the beach.  The players are from the Newport Polo Club and other regional contenders, playing on finely tuned thoroughbred polo horses.  Horses are accustomed to sandy footing in their natural habitats all over the world, including the US desert southwest.  The polo ponies are highly fit and exercised in arena polo, played on similar footing materials.

Newport Polo reminds attendees that all beach rules are in effect.  “Attendees are reminded that alcohol is not permitted and to stay out of the dunes which are protected.  Well behaved leashed dogs are welcome.  See current conditions on the beach cam.  Free parking is available at Sachuest Beach.  Spectators are encouraged to arrive early where they can meet the players and horses before the match and enjoy the beautiful ocean views”.

This is the 32nd annual Newport Winter Festival, running from February 14th to the 23rd.  Over 150 events taking place throughout Newport County will be featured in ‘New England’s Largest Winter Extravaganza,’ combining food, festivities, music, and fun for all ages. 

For Beach Polo weather updates, please call (401) 846-0200 x2.

The complete schedule of events and other Winter Fest specials can be found online at https://www.newportwinterfestival.com/.

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